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  1. #1
    Registered User oowl's Avatar
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    Using an iPad with clients and for sessions

    Hi!
    I've got an iPad, and I'd like to move towards going paperless (or at least, minimal paper), and I'm wondering who else uses an iPad to plan sessions, keep track of clients' measurements/progress notes. Is there a certain App you use, or a template for a word processing program?

    What have you found most, and least useful?
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  2. #2
    community gym PT KyleAaron's Avatar
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    Don't do it.
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  3. #3
    Registered User oowl's Avatar
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    ^ Can you explain why?

    I'm thinking about the long term.. I'd like to avoid going through miles, and miles of paper throughout my career, and with technological advancements, I would like a way to incorporate an iPad (or a laptop - if there is a specific program.. but this would look a bit clunky). A lot of my clients have mentioned this to me, and ask me not to waste paper on them, which got me thinking about this.
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  4. #4
    community gym PT KyleAaron's Avatar
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    Quantify "a lot". How many, of how many clients?

    Clients want your attention. That's what they're paying $1-$3 a minute for, your undivided attention. They don't want you playing with your mobile phone, chatting to another client or trainer or gym member, checking out hot gym-goers, umming and ahring about what to do next, talking about your relationship difficulties, or anything like that. They want your attention.

    They may speak of their concern for the environment and the like, but the truth is they want your attention.

    The inevitable fcking about that comes with computers will detract from your attention on them, and thus from your session.

    Just keep a notebook journal for each client. Develop a shorthand notation, eg SQ/BP/DL will be obvious. Or make up a spreadsheet and print it out, for example it could have a page with "exercise" and "cycle 1" through to "cycle 6" across the top, in three large blocks with "workout 1", "workout 2", and "workout 3". You see someone twice a week, and you go through three different workouts in turn. The first runthrough you record their results in the "cycle 1" column, the second in the "cycle 2" column, and so on. See attached; I include an image not a spreadsheet since if you can handle an ipad you can surely make a spreadsheet to your taste.

    This would allow you to record workouts on minimal space. I prefer an A5 page for each workout so I can note down client mood, whether they had breakfast, if anything hurts, etc. But the example will allow for something more compact, you can fit 12+ workouts on one A4 page. example.PNG
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  5. #5
    Registered User oowl's Avatar
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    'a lot' being about 13 individuals in the past three months.

    They will still have my attention. I'm competent enough with technology not to be playing with a mobile phone/tablet. I can keep one window open for the duration of a session, no problems. I can set it so that it doesn't 'lock' or go into 'standby' mode after a certain time period. I also don't do any of those things you mentioned.

    My target market demographic are young, switched on professionals who respond positively to change, and are hugely swayed by the use of new technologies and techniques. They want me to email them copies of their results and particulars in a format that they can make notes on themselves, so scanning really is not a viable option. They want to check in with me via facebook, foursquare, and they want to tweet me. They want to connect with me via pinterest, and share this information with their friends. They want to keep in contact with me via skype and other social media platforms, at all hours of the day when they travel internationally.

    So it really does make sense for me to upgrade from the paper and pens systems, despite how successful it has been for me, and others, previously.
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  6. #6
    community gym PT KyleAaron's Avatar
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    To get and keep clients a trainer needs to demonstrate competence, establish trust and rapport. Different clients will find one or the other more important, and different trainers will be better or worse at each aspect. That's why some PTs can get away with just sticking a person on a treadmill for half an hour or having them fck about on a bosu ball and chatting to them - they're very good at the "establish rapport" bit. That's also why some PTs can get away with being arseholes or boring - they're very good at the "demonstrate competence" bit. Usually, however, the trainers who do the best long-term are those who develop all three aspects.

    You're obviously focusing on the rapport aspect. I suggest a more balanced approach, trying for some of all three. Obviously everyone will have their strengths and areas they choose to emphasise, but just as most non-athletes want a bit of each of strength, endurance and mobility, though will emphasise one of them, so too should a PT want a bit each of demonstrated competence, trust and rapport established.

    I would suggest that your young, switched-on clients already have each day with their friends and co-workers an experience where everyone sits around looking at their electronic devices rather than each-other. PT can offer a different experience, more focused, more... what's the word? Remember the first word in our job title.

    In the end, it's up to you.
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  7. #7
    Au Naturale cjogro's Avatar
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    One of the other trainers at the gym I work at uses a tablet pretty consistently. No problems and he doesn't have to transfer paper notes to computer. Up to you.
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  8. #8
    Registered User Prane's Avatar
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    I'm going to have to agree with Kyle on this one, he made all the points.

    Plain and simple it's unnecessary and your going to end up ****ing about one way or another.
    I don't care how professional you think you are, it's going to look bad to somebody and if you check FB or anything other than your clients relevant information, even once, your ****ing about and your only going to **** about some more eventually.

    When I think of myself as a client I want a to be able to have some Personal time to talk to my trainer, discuss my training/diet/keep them up to date on whatever you talk about in your life/check your goals.

    I do not want to wait while some stupid app opens.
    I do not want to see your stupid gizmo you paid $$$ for and strut around the gym like it's the next best thing
    I want to see you giving your personal touch and 100% undivided attention.

    Can you do the exact same **** on paper? yep.

    Sweat on your ipad = gross

    What happens if your ipad gets lost/stolen/broken/crashs and lose information. Your **** out of luck, back to paper, and you look like a knob
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  9. #9
    Eats carbs @ 11pm Simmo0508's Avatar
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    I tried it for a bit with my iPad. Didn't like it after a few sessions, and went back to folders/clipboards/paper from the filing cabinet here.

    - imo, it takes longer to enter data via these gizmos as compared to simply scribbling on paper
    - looks more professional to onlookers, "why's that guy playing on his iPad" most noobs will assume
    - it's just as quick to scan previous workouts and assessment sheets etc. in a normal manilla folder, compared to searching and opening on a computer for example.

    When training people it's just a lot simpler and easier imo. Easier to execute at the time. Plus i know if i leave it on the floor or something nearby, at least nothing bad's gonna happen to it or get broken.
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  10. #10
    Registered User darins's Avatar
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    Wow, a lot of negativity regarding technology. If you're an idiot when it comes to technology and it takes you a minute and a half to change the channel on the TV, going this route might not be for you. Otherwise, it doesn't hurt to try.

    I use a Droid tablet with the built-in spreadsheet app to manipulate a basic Excel sheet I made to track key lifts, measurements, general session notes, and other items easily and conveniently. If you design it yourself, you won't be farting around with your technology long because you're familiar with the tool and can be efficient with it. Plus, the way I have things designed I'm not flipping through page after page looking at previous measurements or trying to find what happened the last time we did a deadlift. Way easier for me.
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  11. #11
    Registered User gymproaleks's Avatar
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    I agree with Darins, I'm surprised at the small adoption of technology for this. You guys are referring to confusing/hard to use apps to record notes. Lets look at a simple example - the iPad's "notes" app. Firstly, let me specify that it's on a tablet, and not a phone (I wouldn't recommend using the notes app on the phone due to the same reasons Kyle pointed out - looks bad, easy distraction etc.). But essentially this app is just like a physical pad, except that you get extra benefits such as being able to back up your notes online with a service like iCloud or Dropbox, so even if you loose your device it doesn't matter. The other advantage is the fact that you can email these notes to a client, which can be a big plus. I've attached a modified example of Kyle's workout written in about 1 min on the notes app - each entry under each of the exercises corresponds to the workout (e.g. second entry under bench press corresponds to workout 2).

    You can't tell me that this is harder to use than pen and paper. You're spending the same amount of time noting things down, and you're not shuffling between apps. Also, if you're really into your spreadsheets you can probably download a google doc's app (i think i've seen some available for apple devices, haven't really used android at all) for spreadsheets and do something similar to Darins' system.

    A tablet is not a phone - unless you're an idiot and using some other apps (god forbid Facebook ) other than just noting your client's progress, you can't really get distracted... no-one can call you. I guess it's a matter of how you're using it as much as anything else. A trainer with a physical pad can still have his phone in his pocket and get messages and look/chat to other people when he should be looking after the client. It's HOW you do it.
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  12. #12
    community gym PT KyleAaron's Avatar
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    She's already noted that clients want their workouts published on facebook and that sort of thing. In principle that can all done outside of session time, but

    (a) is the use of social applications the most productive possible use of a trainer's unpaid time outside PT sessions? and
    (2) let's be serious, it's going to creep into the sessions. "Post it up now, I don't mind."
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    Registered User tbrady1pttools's Avatar
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    I can see the pros and cons of each...with that in mind technology is getting bigger! You have to adapt to or you will be like the dinosaurs and become extinct. I'm getting a tablet next month and will be using it for training sessions. Maybe not all because it would be a pain plus! Broken, stolen, sweat, and getting beat up are all for sure possibiilties in the gym!

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  14. #14
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    Originally Posted by KyleAaron View Post
    She's already noted that clients want their workouts published on facebook and that sort of thing. In principle that can all done outside of session time, but

    (a) is the use of social applications the most productive possible use of a trainer's unpaid time outside PT sessions? and
    (2) let's be serious, it's going to creep into the sessions. "Post it up now, I don't mind."
    That's true. Even though I'm into technology I have to admit there's a certain calmness and honesty (in a weird way) in doing things with pen and paper. And keep in mind, you can always take a snap of the handwritten workout with your smartphone and upload that on Facebook - simple and effective, and best of both words
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  15. #15
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    You would look like a complete joke to anyone around you.

    No...
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  16. #16
    community gym PT KyleAaron's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tbrady1pttools View Post
    technology is getting bigger! You have to adapt to or you will be like the dinosaurs and become extinct.
    I think that having an advocate of "better living through chemistry" speak in their favour does not really help those who are arguing for more technology in the gym, they deserve better than that.

    Forty years ago we were told that Progress Insisted we use machines rather than free weights. Everyone promoting some new technology tells us that Things Are Inevitable and We Must Keep Up With The Times. You are perhaps not old enough to remember the promises of the Cashless Society, the Paperless Office, and how business travel would almost cease to exist as people simply had international meetings by videoconference. Plus, you know, flying cars.

    It turns out that people want cash, they want things on paper, they want face-to-face communication and undivided attention. And they want the results only free weights can give. Every new technology has its uses, but certain basics remain.
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  17. #17
    Registered User gymproaleks's Avatar
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    What I find interesting is how against this most people are. You aren't saying, "Try it, it might work for you, but I prefer using pen and paper". You are saying "No. Pen and paper is the best. Everything else sucks". Each to their own... but if used properly (key point) these tools blow pen and paper out of the water.
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  18. #18
    community gym PT KyleAaron's Avatar
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    Experience.
    Elite coaching is about getting the last 5% out of a person's performance, personal training is about getting the first 50%.

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    I will also add that I don't think tablets have been around long enough for this to become normal and accepted in most gym environments by people who didn't know what you were doing. I use my phone as a stopwatch because I hate having the thing around my neck, but I still get looks from people who think I'm using it for something else.

    I've been writing things for so long I'm just used to it during sessions - it is much easier (for me) to take notes in my shorthand and then translate them later if I need to in electronic format for clients. Maybe if I ever try the other way I'll be as convert but for now if it isn't broken I'm not going to fix it.

    I also do agree with Kyle that as an industry we need to focus on MORE personal attention during sessions, MORE voice and face to face interaction, and try to get away from the faceless technology that is dominating everything these days. The personal touch makes a massive difference from a business perspective and in my opinion is one of the keys to being a really successful coach and trainer.
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  20. #20
    community gym PT KyleAaron's Avatar
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    Alwyn Cosgrove said a cheesey but true thing: we should try to be the best part of our client's day.

    Most people, he said, have only got three places they go: home, work, and some hobby. Most people don't have time for anything else. Now, they have to have a home, and they have to do some kind of paid work. But the hobby's optional. They could go anywhere, do anything. They could do something that doesn't cost $60-$120/hr and require them to get up early in the dark or rush from work, but they're choosing to do this and come to us. They might change their minds if they don't like the experience, though - remember, we're optional. PT is a luxury. So for them to bother with us, we have to make their workouts the best part of their day.

    Is that going to be helped by more facebook and twitter?
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  21. #21
    Registered User oowl's Avatar
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    When I was referring to clients checking in or interacting using twitter/facebook/foursquare - this is THEM who would be doing the checking in/sharing... do you really think I would check into my own gym with my own clients, for each client? People are addicted to social media and technology, and instead of going against that, I'm moving forward with this trend, not against it. Of course I wouldn't be silly enough to use these apps during sessions (or even on the gym floor in view of members). It would also be used for a stopwatch, which, I think is better than using a phone, as many trainers do.

    It isn't possible to edit an image file taken of a paper based copy of something, nor can you perform keyword searches, if that sort of thing was ever required in the future. (ie - if you have been training with a client for over a year, and they want to see if there has been a pattern to their headaches over this time. A simple search of 'headache' under session notes, could easily provide this information, rather than going through 100+ session notes individually.

    I have a very personal focus in my training. I have eye contact, hands on for technique correction, getting down to their level if they're on the ground, undivided attention (an iPad, when used properly, like I am able to, takes no more attention away than paper/pen).

    My clients choose many services by their availability of technology. From speaking to them, I've found is unlikely for them (and me as well) to go to a doctor/dentist/physio/osteo/shop who does not have a website or an online booking system. My clients are 'wowed' when restaurants have menus on ipads, for example.

    @KyleAaron, can I ask what environments you have worked in previously that has helped shape your strong viewpoint on this matter? If I worked at a community gym, there is no way I would be doing this, but due to my customer base's characteristics and the environment of my workplace, it certainly seems 'fitting', if anything.
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  22. #22
    community gym PT KyleAaron's Avatar
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    Yes, I've worked at community gyms.

    However, around a quarter of the clients I've ever had have been young university students who basically live on facebook etc, and another quarter have been very well-off people who do 99% of their communication on computers or by smartphone. The students react with surprise when given individual attention without electronics being part of it, surprise which later turns into delight, and the older ones react with relief.
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  23. #23
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    I agree with Kyle on this 100%. I have tried using technology to make life easy for me and my athletes, only to get frustrated at the situation because I spent more time on my Android that focusing on my lifters. So I went back to using good old pencil and tablet for record keeping.

    Imagine this scenario:

    1.
    a)Write down the following on a piece of paper:
    “19NOV12”
    (Oooops! You messed up. Today is 21 NOV12. No problem. Just cross off 19.)
    “21NOV12”

    Minutes later. You want to note that client lacks flexibility. So you simply write

    “Needs flexibility”



    VERSUS using I-Pad / Android, etc..

    2.
    a) Turn on I-pad.
    b) Wait. While client waits.
    c) Pull up file in excel or word , while client waits.
    d) Ooops. Where is my client’s file? Wait some more.
    e) 5 Minutes later, you’re like,” Okay, let’s warm up.”
    f) Type in today’s date. You make a mistake. Takes several seconds instead of split seconds to correct.
    g) Type “needs flexibility”. Takes a little longer to type, not to mention the fact that you have to look at the keyboard instead of your client. I can’t type on my pad without taking my eyes off it. But I can write on a piece of paper while focusing on client.

    Trust me. I’m not anti-technology. In fact, I do use my Android for one thing only as a LAST RESORT. If a lifter just cannot get the lift and I have tried everything I can, my last hope is use a camera to record their movement, and then I use my pad to pull up preloaded youtube vids of competent lifters and compare their movements so they can see what they’re doing wrong.
    This above all..
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    Go with old school clipboard. Then transfer over to ipad at end of the day if you want.
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    Been using Android Tablet (Excel Spreadsheet) for more than a year now, to record lifts measurements, before after photo’s, video analysis etc. If you prepare your sessions before hand (which you should do anyway), all the above negative comments can be avoided.
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    Originally Posted by sf69 View Post
    Been using Android Tablet (Excel Spreadsheet) for more than a year now, to record lifts measurements, before after photo’s, video analysis etc. If you prepare your sessions before hand (which you should do anyway), all the above negative comments can be avoided.
    This ^

    Preparing is key whether its on an iPad or paper.
    I think different clients react differently to both. Yonger people may like the tech side of it, however older folks probably would rather the old school way.
    Either way be flexible, I mean I dont see a problem using an iPad or any other tech device. You could always print things from the iPad anyway, spread sheets Etc.
    This whole thing about powering on while the client waits... That to me is just nonsense. Obviously the device would be on and ready to deal with the client before they step foot in the door.

    Anyhow just my opinion no pun intended.
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    Originally Posted by Ptrulli View Post
    This ^

    Preparing is key whether its on an iPad or paper.
    I think different clients react differently to both. Yonger people may like the tech side of it, however older folks probably would rather the old school way.
    Either way be flexible, I mean I dont see a problem using an iPad or any other tech device. You could always print things from the iPad anyway, spread sheets Etc.
    This whole thing about powering on while the client waits... That to me is just nonsense. Obviously the device would be on and ready to deal with the client before they step foot in the door.

    Anyhow just my opinion no pun intended.
    So you have to open it up and record the reps after each set. Sounds stupid to me. Also when training people you have to make little notes throughout the workout. Also when working with a person you sometimes have to move around and help them and stuff at least you can drop/throw a clipboard...not worried about where your computer is gonna be so it dont get smashed. Computers dont belong in a gym.
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    Registered User guscles's Avatar
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    using something like an ipad runs the risk of also losing all the information due to a crash which we all know happens. then there is no way you can retrieve it and if there is a way its usually very very expensive. much easier to recover files in paper from a cabinet. someone can steal it and then all the information is lost again, it only takes one second for someone to steal it.
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  29. #29
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    Originally Posted by guscles View Post
    using something like an ipad runs the risk of also losing all the information due to a crash which we all know happens. then there is no way you can retrieve it and if there is a way its usually very very expensive. much easier to recover files in paper from a cabinet. someone can steal it and then all the information is lost again, it only takes one second for someone to steal it.
    Use google docs.
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    The PT's in the gym I work at use ipads, I use the samsung note 2. Out of the 6 regular trainers 3 of us use tablets, and other sometimes use paper on clipboard FWIW.

    If you are worried about what happens if you lose your tablet; All mine are backed up on Drop box easily.

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